People, Environment

$6.1m Allocated for Combating Wildfires

$6.1m Allocated for Combating Wildfires$6.1m Allocated for Combating Wildfires

A budget of $6.1 million has been allocated to the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization to help combat the rising incidence of wildfires, according to an official at the organization.

Mostafa Kiakajouri, deputy for planning and development, said the Interior Ministry and Management and Planning Organization of Iran have approved the budget, which “will be used to implement preventive measures and equip the organization to fight wildfires”, Mehr News Agency reported.

The official said the organization has been equipping provincial departments with firefighting vehicles for the past two weeks, with priority given to northern provinces and western regions where densely-populated forests, such as the Zagros forests, are located.

Forest fires have been wreaking havoc on Iran’s ancient woodlands, destroying wildlife and threatening the livelihood of communities that depend on forests.

Between March 21 and July 21, 786 wildfires burnt about 6,438 hectares of forests across the country.

According to official reports, this year has seen a 23% rise in the number of wildfires compared with the same period of last year, no doubt affected by Iran’s worsening drought and scorching summer heat.

Forests play a key role in the global campaign against climate change. Apart from offering oxygen, fuel and building material, trees store important quantities of carbon gas which, if released, contribute to global warming.